Apple Retina Macbook Pro – the new DJ standard?



 

Apple today announced a new 15″ MacBook Pro. Yes I know they do this every year, but this one is notable for a few reasons, namely it finally kicks optical media and regular hard disks to the kerb, but also for the change in form factor, weight and retina screen. So is this new offering from Apple the ultimate DJ computer? For me – yes.

Let’s have a look at what it has to offer:

Less weight: 5.6lb down to 4.46lb – that’s a fair lump less to lug around. It’s only a little thicker that a MacBook Air as well.

Retina Screen: A full 2880×1800 resolution. In real terms, it means much smoother graphics… well once the software has been updated for it, otherwise it’ll be pixel doubled. It does however give the developers a lot more resolution to play with. And screen elements that had to be a particular size before now have the possibility to be small and still legible. Perhaps this will give scaleable interfaces the kick start they need. I can just imagine the super detailed waveforms now.

No optical drive: No surprise here. I don’t miss it one bit in my MacBook Air. And it’s one less reason to be accosted mid set with someone requesting that you play their CD.

No Hard Drive: Another inevitability. The speed advantages of SSDs are obvious, but the chances are it’s not user-upgradable. Having a little less space but delivered in a much faster way is a tradeoff I can live with, especially in this evolving video DJing age.

More RAM: Up to 16Gb now, and most likely factory fitted.

I/O: Annoyingly still only 2 x USB ports, but they’re USB3, which in itself offers an alleged 10 times speed difference, simultaneous read/write and much less power consumption. And it also gains 2 x Thunderbolt ports. That said, while they’ll still work, none of your DJ gear has either of these ports just yet, making this perhaps a little too ahead of the game. This move will however make the manufacturers look hard at their offerings with an eye to updates.

HDMI Port: DVI output has gone and has been replaced by HDMI. It’s very handy for instant plugging in to projectors and large screens with just an HDMI cable. And although we still have no confirmation, I cannot help but think that the inclusion is for Apple’s yet to be announced TV offering.


In the name of progress, Ethernet and FireWire has gone the way of the optical drive. From  a DJ perspective, the removal of Ethernet is no real loss, but Firewire is likely to be sorely missed by those who love to carry the entire history of music around with them just in case. That said, there’s USB3, and there are easily forgettable Thunderbolt adaptors for these things as well, although it’s an extra cost on top of an already expensive laptop. It also looks as if the audio line in has gone.

Strangely, there is no speed bump. I guess keeping things cool in a small body has proved to be an issue.

It’s also worth pointing out that the 17″ MBP is no more. In my travels through various creative industries, I think I’ve only ever seen 2 of them, which is a clear indicator as to why they’ve been axed. The retina display lets you edit footage in full 1080p with room to spare, so it’s no great loss.

As a former Mac tech bod, the removal of mechanical drives is a god send. These 2 things alone go wrong when you least expect them to so I’m happy to see them gone. No moving parts means less things to go wrong which makes it more reliable. The ultra fast SSD, USB3 and 16Gb RAM makes it faster. The new architecture makes it more luggable. And the retina screen makes it much easier to look at. But you’re going to have to REALLY want one bad.

A fully configured maxed out machine is $3749/£3049 – a serious amount of anyone’s coin, especially as the £1799 entry level machine cannot be upgraded from 256Gb SSD. You’ll need to drop £2299 for 512Gb, and even then the 768Gb is an upgrade, taking it to £2699. There is no cheap route for the best DJ laptop.

If you play out for a living, it’s a hard machine to ignore and quite easy to justify. But if you DJ in your spare time, this is a lot to drop. What do you think? Is this the ultimate future proofed DJ laptop? Is it actually too ahead of its time to be of use now? Or do you prefer to have every base covered in a more cost effective way?

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheLeffe Fredrik Yngström

    The RAM is soldered, so yes – factory fitted and not user replaceable. The SSD though, consist of a separate board, connected by a, what probably is a proprietary , connector similar to mSATA/mPCIe.

  • spacebrownie

    Before the whole ‘HD revolution’, computer screens used to have much higher resolution, and then with the flat screen TVs kicking in, HD became the norm, and as most everyday user had little knowledge of it, computer and laptop screens started reducing their highest resolutions on their screens. So essentially, Apple is in a way just giving back what was once already provided by many computer\laptop screens. Correct me if I’m wrong…

  • beuis

    THIS POST IS BIAS BECAUSE GIZMO USES A MAC – macs are 3 times more expensive than an equivilent PC laptop and 3 times as shit because theres a lack of free software. If you buy a PC instead you can get all ya software free over the net.

    • http://www.djworx.com Mark Settle

      Beuis – I’d reason with you about the points you made, but trying to convince anti-Apple people is an utterly pointless exercise. Have you ever owned a Mac?

      Yes I use Macs – always have, and PCs too. But it makes no difference to me if you use them or not. I am not biased in any way whatsoever, and my viewpoint, just like DJing has always been “use what works best for you”.

      The article is written to illicit opinion about whether this new computer is the ideal DJ computer OR NOT. It doesn’t say “use this”, it says “I’d like to use this – what about you?”.

      • beuis

        fair point – I grew up using a macintosh plus you remember the black and white early model -
        and yes i loved loved loved it – it was far ahead of any other computer at the time.
        My point is really for £369 from PC world you can buy a 2.8Ghz laptop with 6Gig RAM thats insane value for money. Apple mac for the last 10years have never released anything thats value for money.
        Thats just my opinion and i repect yours but most people will spend under £500 on a laptop.
        The above price point is just out of reach for 90% of DJs.

        • http://www.mobiledjforums.com GroovinDJ

          Some DJs are quite prepared to drop £3000 on a pair of CDJ-2000s so why not a laptop?

          People also willingly spend almost £2000 on a mixer. So why not £1799 on the entry level Retina Macbook?

          Some years ago I spent £1600 on a Sony VAIO C1F – a netbook years before the recent craze.

          It always caught peoples attention – until they asked how much it was, then they slowly backed away!

          Cutting edge always costs more, until others get in on the act and the features become commonplace. My first 24″ LCD monitor was £600. Now I can get one for under £150.

          • http://djvaritech.net Gavin Varitech

            The difference is that is how much CDJ2000′s cost. The only thing truly unique about a MacBook Pro is that it runs a proprietary OS. One could EASILY get a Samsung Series 7 for about half the price (less than half compared to anything but the base level MacBook Pro) and have it perform equally, or outperform, the twice expensive Mac.

            If you really need OSX just Hackintosh it. Honestly since Samsung makes almost every component in most Apple devices (INCLUDING THE RETINA DISPLAY), and the others are made by the same 3rd parties in both notebooks (Intel, Nvidia, etc) anyways you’re getting the SAME MACHINE or better for a lot less money.

            There is no analogous statement you can make about a CDJ2000 and any other product.

      • http://www.djpegasus.com D.J. Pegasus

        I’m sure you mean “elicit” opinion. ;)
        Sounds nice, but I loves me my connectors. My 2-year-old Hp Elitebook has Firewire, eSATA, USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 1600×900 15″ display, touchpad AND pointing nub, (and the 17″ version even features a serial port for those of us hacking routers, phone systems, and X10 light shows!)

        This laptop allows me to use my SCS.1 system, external eSATA RAID disk at full speed, and Linux all at once and I love it!

  • http://facebook.com/djklh KLH

    Sidestepping the obvious Windows-versus-MacOS trap door, there’s NO TECHNICAL REASON for a DJ to by a new MBP over anything else. That screen – while I’m sure will be gorgeous when fully supported – doesn’t add any value to the art of DJing. Doubling the resolution will seriously tax the GPU which will ultimately make the laptop hotter and battery-life shorter. The retina display MBPs are simply status symbols.

    They dropped the dedicated gigabit Ethernet port??? THAT is a mistake, IMHO. Sure, you can use the ThunderBolt adapter, but that’s literally like using a super expensive car as a moving truck: it’s a waste of resources. The two ThunderBolt ports costs about $100 (guessing) to include once you factor in the chipset and adapter. A GBE port is <$1. Having one TB port and a GBE port (last the last model) would be better.

    The only way that I see that the new retina display MBP is better is if you do a LOT of photography or video editing. Even then, it would've been better for Apple to simply introduce a dedicated retina-display monitor.

    -KLH

    • http://djvaritech.net Gavin Varitech

      Agreed whole heatedly. The MBP is am fantastic notebook but when you say “there’s NO TECHNICAL REASON for a DJ to by a new MBP” there is no reasonable argument against it.

  • Jared Helfer

    Yeah these will be gorgeous, sure. But with two USB ports, and almost no modern DJ hardware using firewire (anybody want to buy my SCS1s?) these are geared toward a completely different group of people. Yes, there are tons of all-in-ones, but if you need an external hard drive (like for that massive amount of video you’d need to be an adequate video DJ) and a controller with a built in audio interface, that’s half of all of your peripherals.

    I know solid state drives are better, but even by average standards they aren’t that expensive. And my PC laptop could, if I wanted to pay for it, have 32 gigs of RAM. There is nothing wrong with DJing on an Apple, nor a PC, but this actually seems a lot more geared toward video and photography, as KLH said, than DJing and production. *shrug*

    The cost of entry just got a lot higher for this product, and if you’re like me and want as much storage as possible (for that huge music collection) and don’t want to carry another peripheral, this just isn’t an option.

  • djsherz

    *generic “how much??” comment*

    I’m nervous about taking my £400 laptop to a venue. If some numpty spilt their drink over it, I’d have a little cry. If same numpty were to spill their pint into one of these, I think I’d either be doing time for it, or jumping off the nearest bridge!

  • https://www.google.com/profiles/102166040169811115322 j.silva

    Apple devices have become a fashion statement and because of this they get away with murdering peoples wallets. A decent i5 windows laptop with 8gb ram, discrete graphics, usb3 and a 128gb+ ssd will cost you less than $800 if you know how to shop or DIY. No thank you Apple.

  • http://twitter.com/DJ_DougMore Doug More

    I like it, but I don’t think it’s any better to DJ with than any other 15″ Windows or older OSX laptop. The combo of SSD, 16000MHz RAM and 2.3GHz i7 makes for a powerful Mac on its own. Add the Retina display to your Aperture/Final cut and your set to make great media. The Retina won’t make Logic, Protools or Ableton Live (Let along Traktor or Serato) easier to use…just easier to see. So, fantastic news for pro photographers, designers and video producers….which Apple already has a stranglehold on.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/beat3productions Dj L-Biz

    So glad they have axed optical drives. They are the only parts i have ever had to replace and it never comes at a good time. The only thing i will miss which is probably minor for most people but as i still use SL1 and having a Audio Line in was a god send for recording in ‘audcity’ for example. If i purchased one of these i would need a soundcard :-(
    Still i’m mostly using a vci380 or 300 whi9ch has internal recording so not all is lost.

    Good work Apple you have upped the ante again – now we just have to wait for the software to catch up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1412210322 Carlos Hernandez

    I personally like to stay a little behind the latest tech, specially when it comes to laptops. I also never buy brand new Laptops, I get my laptops refurbished from the Apple Store, which usually saves me about $600 to $800 from the original price. Refurbished laptops are 99% as good as brand new ones, and are less prompt to have software or hardware compatibilty issues. For example you can get a:

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.3GHz quad-core Intel i7
    Originally released February 2011
    15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Hi-Res antiglare widescreen display, 1680-by-1050 resolution
    4GB (2 x 2GB) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    750GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm
    8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6750M

    for $1,679.00 which is almost $600 bucks from the original price and most likely won’t give you any compatibility issues with the software or hardware.
    It’s good to have the latest and greatest, but when the “latest and greatest” comes with risk of not running as smooth as it should, the choice becomes a little tricky.
    I personally will get one once I know for certain that all my main hardware and software will run smoothly. I will wait for the early adopters to be the guinea pigs and beta testers. I’ll watch behind the fence and when the time is right. i’ll drop the cash!

    • datguyspider

      I agree with carlos to a point……..I never buy the latest tech because most times I can’t afford it since djing isn’t my main source of income more of a slightly profitable hobby that I love to do. So I do buy refurbished or even used macbooks to dj with.

      But to answer the original questions…..
      1. I’m not sure if it’s really the “ultimate future proofed DJ laptop” but I do believe its a big step in the right direction.
      2.”Is it actually too ahead of its time to be of use now” this i agree with. Until Serato/Traktor have a chance to beef up their programs to use the full potential of a product like this….it will be too ahead of it’s time. Since if i’m not mistaken Serato is a 32 bit program and only uses 4gb of ram???
      3. I do prefer the safer route….but this laptop is a spectacle to behold…..maybe 2 or 3 years from now all those super specs will actually benefit djs the way they do photogs and film makers….

  • http://twitter.com/Joshua_Carl Joshua Carl

    while trying not to fall victim to the “latest and greatest” clause… I find myself hardpressed to be excited, or even really interested in this unit… The Retina display does nothing for me in the performance realm, i generally run SSL in Library view. From an editing and Design standpoint, once all the software houses are up to speed Im sure editing video on the new adobe suite looks amazing….
    But along with the apple TV plans, and things in that realm I cant help think this is moving from a “Professional” model into the realm of “Pro-sumer” as Ive come to call it
    IE, True PROfessionals are left shaking their heads, while CONsumers are stoked.
    (Think Final Cut X)
    I am a 17″ user, I love the real estate. but I understand Im in the minority.
    Running SSL, Mix Emergency, Avenua, Mobiola… having that room really made screen management nice.
    No one has really talking about the Audio IN port going away…. While its certainly not crucial. It was a nice perk, I used it here & there.
    Now Maybe a USB3 guru can chime in on this; Most people know that using a USB hub for alot of us is playing with fire… some people are able to do it with no probs, others crash and burn.
    Does USB3 on the Mac look like its going to be able to handle a 4-port unpowered USB hub?
    (say like the one the gents at Crane make)

    so, for me personally Im not a fan of taking all of our software and hardware and dumbing it down to make it more appealing to people who might not think that a Pro Mac unit is for them.
    if anything they should be getting more PRO and less for Joe Consumer.
    but of course its just an opinion.
    JC – The Video Report.

    • http://twitter.com/djnyce DJ Nyce

      I think the retina model is a very nice upgrade for macbook air users. for regular macbook pro users who surf, email and use facetime this is probably the best thing since sliced bread. but for dj’ing the retina model is overpriced and useless.

      if you are coming from a dual-core the non-retina model is an amazing upgrade which is future proof for quite some time.

      @JC i’ve used a USB 3.0 powered and non-powered hub with a sandy bridge desktop. with the desktop, stability and performance was directly associated with the USB 3.0 chip on the motherboard. in my situation it was a NEC Renassas chip and my usb 3.0 devices worked flawlessly with the hub and without. In Sandy Bridge USB 3.0 was not on-cpu. With Ivy Bridge it is.

      That being said USB 3.0 with an Ivy Bridge CPU should perform as stable as USB 2.0 has but with the added speed.

  • http://twitter.com/ganesh_hananda ganesh

    Now I’ve got an important question to all of you wanting to buy or have already bought the MBP with Retina:
    Will the display of software like Ableton Live or Traktor be BLURRY on it?

    I read this article and it appears most apps have to be updated to match Retina’s high resolution, otherwise it’ll be blurry. It’s good if we’re able to know this from people who have already bought it.

    Check http://www.anandtech.com/show/5998/macbook-pro-retina-display-analysis under “Application Support for Retina Display”

    • http://www.djworx.com Mark Settle

      It’s a good point that I mention in the article. Given that DJ companies seem slow to adapt to new OS releases, I don’t see them chucking out retina updates any time soon. Although NI might just so they can squeeze EVERYTHING onto a single screen.

      • http://twitter.com/ganesh_hananda ganesh

        imagine that we have so many VSTs out there + DAWs, and each of those are going to have to be updated to fit the retina screen. Can anyone who already got this machine confirm this?

        I hope it’s possible to fall back to normal resolution until things are fixed out there

  • http://djvaritech.net Gavin Varitech

    It’s interesting me that so many people on a DJ site are answering NO to this question, or maybe more surprising than interesting. Anyways, I agree. The answer is no….

    If anything these new MBPs are going to be LESS of “the ultimate DJ laptop” or “the new DJ standard” than the current generation of MBPs and maybe, just maybe, deejays will see the emperor is actually not wearing any clothes and migrate away from the cult of Mac when they get their next notebook.

    That being said the current gen MBP will EASILY last the next 5+ years if it’s used for running Serato Scratch Live, Traktor, or Ableton Live with no performance issues so it might be a long time before they have to make that decision (and who knows what will be out then).

  • Dizzy

    Here is a speedy list of why I’m not jazzed about the new MacBook Pro…

    Cons:

    - Starting price $2229, yikes!
    - Flash memory is awesome but it’s an additional $600 to upgrade to a 512G flash drive which is the maximum size. I don’t know about you but as superior as flash drive technology is I don’t want to take a step backwards in storage space for the sake of performance (and at a hefty price)
    - Retina Display: AWESOME! Too bad I’m a DJ and not a graphic designer because as nice as the Retina Display is I don’t need it and I don’t want to pay so much money because of it. Total overkill for viewing DJ software.
    - No optical drive. I totally understand why they got rid of it but there is still the odd time I need to rip a CD at a gig and now I’d have to pull out an external optical drive to do so. Oh well, at least now when someone hands me a CD of crappy music I can tell them I don’t have a CD drive.

    Pros:

    - I do like that they put the USB ports at opposite sides of the unit though… now when some jackass gives me a gigantic USB key I can actually plug it in without it pressing up against my USB cable that leads to my decks.
    - 8G RAM is standard… NICE! It’s about time Apple realized that not all Mac users are like my girlfriend and only use their MacBook to check email and Facebook and that the rest of us need more RAM lol. (and at this price point it will weed out a lot of the hipsters at Starbucks posting ‘duck face’ pics on their bedazzled pink MacBooks lol).
    - it’s super thin and sexy!

    What are your thoughts? (PC fanboys start dissing in 3, 2, 1…)

    ***Correction: I just realized you can upgrade the storage on the 2.6GHz model to 768GB but at the lofty price of $3329 total. YIKES!!! (and the less expensive 2.3GHz model has no option to upgrade the storage at all so you’re stuck with 256G).

  • http://twitter.com/WarpNote Audun N. Sandvold

    Will wait for a 13″ retina, and not getting the the first gen. Interested to know how usb 3.0 works with (both old ones and newe) Rane Soundcards/Mixers.

  • https://www.google.com/profiles/103644338339906026338 Michael Maban

    I agree it’s overpriced. But so was my late 09′ MBP. But I feel to this day I got my monies worth.
    It would be overkill to have this for solely Djing. Hell most MBP’s are overkill for Djing. If you bought a MBP solely for djing then you probably have the funds to buy the Retina MBP.

    I’m a nerd by heart and love the specs. Love how apple is getting rid of the optical drive. Kinda like the ikea CD tower I have full of DVDs and CD’s that I haven’t touched in say 2-3 years. USB3.0 was a surprise to me since they were pushing TB like no tomorrow. But again not everyone has a USB3.0/TB external, which is fine because hopefully within the next few years more of these HD will be available.

    But I thought a lot more DJ’s would rejoice over the HDMI port. Well the VDjs. I assume the mDVI to HDMI adaptor didn’t really send out a proper HDMI signal.(please correct me if I’m wrong). I guess it would shave off some clutter in the adaptor area.

    I want one, but I don’t NEED one. My late 09′ 13″ still does the job. And I don’t have 2K laying around for something like this. I know I’d feel better if I just bought myself a SSD or two and tossed out my optical drive. Retina display is alright but crystal clear wave forms isn’t my priority.

  • Dj Stu-C

    im actually not keen on the usb ports being on both sides, im looking at getting a cd deck for my setup and want a double stand with the deck on the right and my mac on the left, if i had one of those it would make it awkward.

    also its very very expensive and im not keen on hardwired memory that cant be replaced easily, and id prefer 3 usb ports rather than these non descript ports (thunderbolt/firewire etc) that is apples lame attempt at getting everyone to sing from their hymn book, i just wish they would cater for the connections that most companies use rather than try to instigate change. the hdmi port is a great idea and taking away the optical drive makes sense although some of us still like to buy cds(much like records the cover is as important as the media) then rip the cd’s to our computers. but cheap external drives are available(on top of the 1700 quid might i add) and hopfully with thunderbolt connection:)

    the ethernet one is a strange one for me, i rarely use mine but in reality i should use it more as the connection is much more stable and the speed increase on downloads is a good amount

    all in all the new macbook is good but im not ready to remortgage for one just yet, ill just keep my 2010 mbp and maybe add an SSD to it seeing as the crucial ones are dirt cheap now

  • https://www.google.com/profiles/113132109253582401468 Ioannis Kirmitzoglou

    In a world that is ridiculously easily fascinated by new Apple gear the new MBP is certain to take off. But if you step back a bit and look at the whole picture one can see a number of problems here.
    I’ll start with the fancier of the updates, the retina display. First of all, the current 15” MBPs displays were never a problem for DJs. With the 15” model resolution being the same for the last 4 (or more?) years software vendors had plenty of time to create interfaces that worked just fine for DJs. The advantages of Retina Display are not important for DJs. High pixel density is a mute point when the screen is more than 60cm away from you which is how most DJs play. Better viewing angles and less glare are not even a consideration in a dark environment where even a mediocre screen performs fine. The ability to add more GUI elements (due to higher resolution) in the same 15” space makes no sense for DJs who want clean and easy to read from distance interfaces. Imagine Traktor or Live with even more cramped UIs, is this a nice picture? Furthermore, the discontinuation of the 17” models means that artists using Ableton will start facing serious issues with their often huge projects. Last but not least, the new MBP will force the software vendors to spend considerable resources to update their software for the new display leaving behind other, more useful, features. Yes, the new MBP will actually hold back the DJ software scene for several months and at the end we will have the exact same interfaces but with higher DPIs, which as I said is a mute point when the laptop is not close to your face. And that also makes me wonder about performance and compatibilty issues, especially in the short term. Remember that since DJ software is almost always cross-platform and have a common code base, maintaining both high and low DPI versions will be a pain in the ass. Also these software rely on the CPU to draw their pixels (otherwise you need a separate hardware acceleration engine for each platform) which means that the retina-compatible DJ software will be much more CPU-heavy.
    (btw the new MBP can’t properly scale software designed for1440 by 900 which is the native resolution for the rest of the 15” MBPs, it only supports scaled resolutions for 1920 by 1200, 1680 by 1050, 1280 by 800, and 1024 by 640 pixels http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs/ )

    The lack of Firewire is not that important. Frankly Firewire was dead already…
    The removal of Ethernet though is really important especially for DJs that link (using an Ethernet cable) their laptops with the newest Pioneer or Denon gear!! Same goes for DJs/Artists that link multiple Macs/PCs through Ethernet for low-latency and reliable Midi or OSC over network.
    Don’t underestimate the importance of a CD-drive, especially if you’re a mobile DJ. People in weddings still come with CDs in their hands and ask you to play them.
    Sure, HDDs are prone to problems but so are SSDs. Having a fixed, non upgradeable storage device in your laptop sucks!!! Same goes for RAM. Which will result in even more DJs using external drives to store their music but the new MBP has still only 2 USB ports. Thunderbolt is there of course but external devices for Thunderbolt are at least $60-100 more expensive than USB 3 alternatives and that is without taking into account the ridiculously overpriced cable that can only be obtained by Apple.
    Also, no audio Line-in??? Many DJs rely on this to record their sets, this is a big fail.
    And finally, the worst thing is that this laptop is not serviceable outside of an Apple service center. Basically you’re stuck with the specs you originally bought and if something goes wrong you will have to send your working laptop to a service center and hope for the best… What is the back up plan for that? A second laptop?
    So to answer your question, this laptop is definetely not the Ultimate-DJ laptop. In fact is multiple steps backwards. It’s a fine machine and I’m sure pros in image and video editing will love it, but for a DJ it means less features, less flexibility, more money to dump.

  • http://www.djworx.com Mark Settle

    All really good points. Don’t really agree about the screen part – most interfaces are easily scaled to fit whatever screen you have. And having the ability to squeeze more in is normally user defined anyway – certainly in Traktor, and with The One and VDJ8 going modular, more resolution to put what you want where you want it can only be good. And I’m pretty sure that the retina display won’t tax the CPU any harder than before. iPads cope just fine.

    Ethernet and FireWire – if you need it, buy an adaptor. Most DJs, nay most people don’t, hence leaving it out but still having a path for it. And USB CD drives are available for less than £15 these days. I’d rather have it external and stable any day. And nobody is saying use Thunderbolt or USB3. But if you want the extra speed, this machine is geared up for it.

    Line in – agreed. Bad omission for DJs.

    By far your strongest point is the one of a backup laptop. Normally you’d swap out RAM or an HD is something went wrong. I’m pretty sure that Apple are using top quality components for a computer of this price. I would expect that RAM and SSDs are considerably less likely to go wrong. But it could happen.

    So I still contend that for me, this is the ultimate DJ laptop, one that I would happily bet my DJ life on to make my life a lot easier and better. You can, as you and others have, choose to disagree. :)

    • https://www.google.com/profiles/113132109253582401468 Ioannis Kirmitzoglou

      Actually, I think that the screen part is the strong one. Don’t compare iPad with Mac. On the iPad the screen elements are created through specific APIs and all is hardware (that is GPU) accelerated. Also, the developers have to target only one platform. On the Mac side is hard to do GPU accelerated GUIs cause that will break code compatibility with Windows. You have a point about higher resolution but I think that software vendors will just duplicate the exact same interface (maybe with a few tweaks) but with much higher DPIs. E.g. in Traktor today a waveform uses x*y pixels, on a retina display it will just use 4x*4y pixels. The end result will be the same from the users POV but the CPU tax will be 4x. This is what Apple did with it’s software because they realize that you can’t put to many elements on the screen (but their software is GPU accelerated already cause it only runs on Mac). They emphasize on the higher DPI (ie smoother text, no scaling for videos and photos etc) than on the ability to fit more GUI on the screen if you keep using the same DPI. That’s why the OS scales applications by default rather than leaving them utilize the full resolution (to better visualize this try running Traktor or Ableton on a new MBP [2880*1800] vs on a 27” Apple Cinema display [2850*1440])
      I still disagree about the Ethernet. I think more Pros hook their MBPs on the Ethernet. The reason Ethernet was left out had to do with the slim profile of the machine rather the lack of use. For years you had to use an adaptor to hook your MBP on a projector, does this means that most people don’t actually use projectors / second screen?

  • ace

    While there are nice new features, like usb 3, hdmi & retina display.
    I really can’t see any big performance benefits from this new MBP.
    Currently I have a 2010 15″ MBP, I took out the cd drive & replaced it with a 750gb 7200rpm hdd.
    I also replaced the original HDD with a 256gb SSD which has operating system & all applications on it.
    Also upped my ram to 8gigs. How exactly will this new MBP will out perform my current one?
    The retina display doesn’t make it more reliable or increase performance. Actually to spend that sort of cash on a machine that give the user less upgrading options is plain foolish.
    Ultimate dj laptop? – not by a long shot.

    • https://www.google.com/profiles/113132109253582401468 Ioannis Kirmitzoglou

      I have a 15” MBP 8.2 (Early 2011). Originally it came with an i7 @2.2 GHZ, 4gigs of RAM a 750GB HDD and a 1GB AMD GPU. I never had any problems with it and it was more than enough for DJing. Several times I enabled almost everything in Traktor just to stress the machine and didn’t came even close to it, talking about the ultimate DJ laptop. 6 months ago I started doing VJ sets as well using resolume arena. In just a week it was plain obvious that my laptop didn’t had the what it needed to do the job properly. Main reason was the HDD. So, I ordered an MCE bay, a 512GM SSD and 8 gigs of RAM. Now the MBP has 512GB of super fast storage for the OS and the video loops I use all the time, 750GB of HDD storage for the rarely use videos and 8GB of RAM and it runs super fine even on full HD with 6 layers running at the same time. Still, is not the ultimate VJ laptop. Fast external storage is a no-go without USB3 and I can’t use the Thunderbolt since is my only way to connect to a projector. There are several Thunderbolt storage solutions but not even one supports daisy chaining and a Thunderbolt hub is still MIA. So, the new MBP is actually a dream come true from a VJ POV but for a DJ my original MBP was and still is a killer machine.

  • ace

    So the only differences between your current machine & the new one is usb3, hdmi & retina display.
    Are you prepared to drop that sort of cash for usb3 & hdmi (as that’s what you require for vj) and then after emptying your pockets, you can’t even tweak it to your liking like you did with your current MBP.
    Not sure it’s really worth all that cash.

    • https://www.google.com/profiles/113132109253582401468 Ioannis Kirmitzoglou

      Actually for VJs the biggest addon is the dual Thunderbolt. HDMI is good only for connecting to ONE projector at a time which is not so often for VJing if you do mapping. It will be possible to use a TripleHeadToGo for output and an Intensity Shuttle for input of other sources at the same time.
      Still when it comes to performance my MBP is very fast and much cheaper (even after all the upgrades) than the Retina one.

  • http://twitter.com/sweetL80 Stephen Sweetland

    Seems there is a bit of an issue with this machine: http://t.co/szbVnLyq

    One of the least serviceable machines ever.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/viktor.karlsson.146 Viktor Karlsson

    I think it’s a fine machine, but i really need at least 3 usb ports

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  • dj_benice

    DO NOT BUY unless you are happy spending more money on usb hubs and a usb line in as the headphone jack is no longer switchable for input /output i.e. no line in, bit crap for sampling recording……….

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